Repentance; September 20, 2017

Nehemiah 9:33 “In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong.”

The Jews under Nehemiah and Ezra finally expressed some very valuable humility. We are so prone to accuse God of being unfair, refusing to acknowledge our foolish sinfulness. That’s the very opposite of repentance, and it takes many people to hell. God never intended hell for mankind, but when we in our stubborn resistance insist on following the devil, God lets us do so, all the way to hell, even though it breaks His heart. How much better to acknowledge our sins and turn to Him for forgiveness! Jesus spoke repeatedly about how He came to save sinners (Luke 19:10) and how heaven rejoices at man’s repentance. (Luke 15:7) Pride is at the root of so much sin and destruction. The first requirement for salvation is to acknowledge that you need to be saved. Once we get to that place, believing that God has provided the salvation we need is just a short step. That’s why God allows things of all sorts into the world, including natural disasters, to show us how much we need Him. Discipline is an essential expression of love.

Pride has gotten me into more trouble than anything else in my life. Time and time again I have relied on my own intellect instead of seeking God’s will and being obedient to Him, and I have suffered for it. However, that suffering was God’s mercy toward me, because if I had not endured the consequences of my choices, I would not have turned from those choices in repentance. I haven’t killed anyone physically, but in just about every other way I have done what the Jews are here confessing, though on a smaller scale. I certainly had no more excuse than they did, because I was raised in a home steeped in the Bible, and my parents set a clear and consistent example for me. I often remember what Jesus said: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) I have been given so much, and I have squandered so much of it. People look at me now and think I’m a “super Christian,” but they don’t understand the depth of God’s grace toward me. I was told just yesterday that that is a major impediment to my pastoral ministry, because people think they could never be like me. They don’t know! I am not to parade my past sins, but I need God’s help in communicating the reality that the ground is indeed level at the foot of the cross.

Father, the devil puts so many things in the way of people repenting and believing, but He’s certainly not stronger than You are. I pray that Your Spirit would get through to people, not just the ones we feel are close but many more we don’t even know about, so that many indeed would repent and believe, for a mighty harvest in Your kingdom, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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